Millions of Americans lost their jobless benefits on Saturday, December 26, after President Donald Trump failed to sign into law a $2.3 trillion stimulus and spending package.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) programs are set to expire on December 31, but the programs’ benefits can only be paid through December 26, Maryland and Virginia labor and unemployment officials told 13NewsNow.
The House of Representatives and Senate on Monday, December 21, approved a $900 billion stimulus package that would extend both programs, as well as provide another round of direct payments and a weekly $300 federal unemployment supplement for 11 weeks, Business Insider said.
However, Trump threatened on the following day to veto the package, citing the “ridiculously low” $600 stimulus checks. In a December 22 Twitter video, the president demanded Congress increase the payment amount to $2,000.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 23, 2020
According to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the original legislation was sent on Christmas Eve to the president’s private Mar-a-Lago club in Florida to await his signature.
Business Insider said a “partial government shutdown will begin on Tuesday unless Congress can agree [on] a stop-gap government funding bill before then.”
Here’s what you need to know:
The Century Foundation Estimates That 12 Million Workers Will Be on 1 of the 2 Main CARES Act Programs When Funding Expires on December 26
Congress this spring created the weekly $600 PUA supplement for each recipient through July 31, and it also established two other programs to aid struggling Americans, according to The Century Foundation.
Lawmakers created PUA for gig workers and “others not eligible for regular benefits,” as well as 100 percent federal funding for benefits for the long-term unemployed through PEUC and Extended Benefits (EB), The Foundation continued.
However, both PEUC and full federal funding for EB benefits are set to expire on December 26, the think tank said.
“Most workers began collecting state unemployment benefits in March or April, and since these benefits typically max out at twenty-six weeks, these workers’ benefits are already coming to an end,” according to The Century Foundation.
Based on the current number of people already on federal and state benefits, the foundation estimates that:
— 12 million workers will be on one of the two main CARES Act programs, PUA and PEUC, when funding expires on December 26.
— An estimated 7.3 million workers will see their PUA benefits expire on December 26, and 945,000 will run out of PUA before December.
— An estimated 4.6 million workers will see their PEUC benefits prematurely expire on December 26.
— Only 2.9 million of those running out of PEUC will be able to collect EB in 2021 — but states will have to pick up half of the cost at a time when their trust funds are depleted.
The Foundation also noted that Black workers and communities of color are “particularly at high risk” of being negatively impacted by the pandemic recession.
CNN noted that, “Even if Trump signs the legislation, it would still take a few weeks for state unemployment agencies to reprogram their computers to continue these two programs and to add the new $300 weekly federal boost.”
Pelosi Plans to Hold a Vote on Monday, December 28, to Approve $2,000 Stimulus Checks
This Christmas Eve morning, House Republicans cruelly deprived the American people of the $2,000 checks Trump agreed to support. On Monday, the House will hold a vote on our stand-alone bill to increase economic impact payments to $2,000.
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) December 24, 2020
House Democrats scrambled on December 24 to schedule a vote to increase the amount of stimulus checks included in the bipartisan proposal from $600 to $2,000 following the president’s demand, according to NBC News.
However, Republicans quickly killed the bill, “throwing into further doubt the future of any imminent financial relief for millions of struggling Americans,” the outlet reported.
Pelosi then announced that House Democrats will hold a vote on Monday, December 28, on a standalone bill that includes $2,000 stimulus checks per eligible person.